It’s nearly Halloween, and if you are not already sick of the taste of pumpkins, here are a few ideas of what to do with them …
Cornwall Fire Service advises on the best use of pumpkins, so this info comes from them. If you have any ideas to share, please do … or send in your photos!
Using the inside of the Pumpkin:
- Make pumpkin soup. A warm, delicious dish that can be made in a variety of ways. From creamy and roasted to chilli and thai coconut, there’s a flavour for everyone! Our best ever pumpkin soup recipes | BBC Good Food
- Create tasty pumpkin seeds. Scoop out the seeds and remove any pumpkin flesh still attached, then rinse them off. Place the seeds on a baking tray and add some olive oil and any additional ingredients you desire (e.g. salt, chilli), then mix the whole lot together. Bake in the oven until lightly golden brown.
- Turn your seeds into pumpkin pesto. Roast 25g pumpkin seeds until starting to pop, then tip into a mini food processor. Fry 200g grated butternut squash for 4-5 mins until softened, then add to the seeds with 3 sage leaves and 1 garlic clove. Blitz until finely chopped. Add 100ml olive oil, blitz again, stir in 25g grated parmesan and a pinch of nutmeg, and season. Will keep in the fridge for two days. BBC Good Food
- Use the remains as compost. Cut up the leftovers of your pumpkin – this will speed up composting time – and add it to the pile! If you don’t have a compost pile already thriving, it’s all about a balance of brown (leaves, wood chips) and green (grass trimmings, kitchen waste) plant matter get one started.
- Pumpkin face mask. Combine 2 tablespoons of pumpkin mash with 2 teaspoons of brown or white sugar and a few drops of water or milk. Mix well and apply to your face with your fingertips using a circular motion. The pumpkin nourishes while the sugar exfoliates. Be a pumpkin face for about 20 minutes before washing it off.
- Pumpkin hair mask. Mix around 30-50g of pureed pumpkin with 2tbsp of coconut oil and 2tbsp of honey. The oil and honey is sure to breathe life back into dry and ravaged strands, plus it smells amazing!
Make a Pumpkin Pie
For the filling
500g (1 1/4 lb) pumpkin, cooked and puréed
1 (410g) tin evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
175g (6 oz) dark brown soft sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the pastry
350g (12 oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
200g (7 oz) butter
125ml (4 fl oz) cold water
1. Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas mark 6.
2. Halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Cut the pumpkin into chunks. In a saucepan over medium heat, cover the pumpkin with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain, cool and remove the peel.
3. Return the pumpkin to the saucepan and mash with a potato masher. Drain well and measure 500g of the mashed pumpkin. Reserve any excess pumpkin for another use.
4. Prepare pastry by mixing together the flour and salt. Rub butter into flour, and add 1 tablespoon of cold water to the mixture at a time. Mix and repeat until the pastry is moist enough to hold together.
5. With lightly-floured hands, shape the pastry into a ball. On a lightly floured board, roll the pastry out to barely a 0.25cm thickness. Transfer to a 20 or 23cm pie dish, gently pressing the pastry into the bottom. Cut off any excess hanging over the sides of the dish, and pinch securely around the inner edge.
6. In a large bowl with mixer speed on medium, beat the pumpkin with evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Mix well. Pour into a prepared pie dish. Bake 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Using the outside of the Pumpkin:
- Outdoor planter. To turn a plain old pumpkin into a flower pot, use a sharp knife to slice off the top.Make the opening large enough to allow for digging and planting. Use a trowel to scoop out the innards, then fill the hollow pumpkinremaing good-looking for around a month, possibly longer if it isn’t in full sun.
- Pumpkin potpourri candle holder. Cut the top off a carved pumpkin and clean out the inside until there is about 1 inch of pulp around the entire interior of the pumpkin. Rub the pulp with ground cinnamon and/or ginger and place a few pieces of cloves into the inside of the lid. Add a tealight or a candle and a lovely autumnal smell will fill the room. – Don’t leave unattended.
- Feed wildlife. Chop up a carved pumpkin for visiting wildlife and watch the show from your window. Separate the seeds and strings for the birds if you desire. Don’t place the whole pumpkin out to rot as you may encourage unwanted pests and mould. Smaller bits will fit nicely in beaks!
- Natural ‘seed starter’.
Another simple way to reuse the pumpkin skin that teaches a fun lesson in sustainability is by turning it into an all-natural seed starter. Add some soil and some pumpkin seeds into the hollowed out pumpkin, then water. Care for it as you would a seed-starting container. Once the seeds begin to sprout, you can simply plant the entire thing, pumpkin and all, into the ground. The rotting pumpkin will give the soil nutrients as the plant inside continues to grow. This works best with smaller pumpkins.
- Compost it.
The outer skin of a pumpkin is great for the compost pile or compost bin.